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The Craving Brain: A bold new approach to breaking free from *drug addiction *overeating *alcoholism *gambling Paperback – November 21, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ronald A. Ruden, M.D., Ph.D., is a leader in the field of medicine. Harvard-trained, he is that rare breed of clinician-scientist whose research is conducted with real patients, from his private office.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 2 edition (November 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060928999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060928995
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By W. M. Tolson on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Second Edition of The Craving Brain adds significantly to the First Edition. Looks to me like it adds two chapters, though the cover says it only added one. Anyway, the two chapter _titles_ added are "Biobalance to Mindfitness" and "Curing Sobriety." The only other changes seem to be minor edits moving away from 'medications as panacea' and towards attitude and lifestyle changes to accomplish the same results with fewer complications.

Here is my review of the First Edition, and it still stands:

Why do I stuff a whole bag of candy or quart of ice cream into my face? Why am I obsessed with Suzy down the street? Why do some people become alcoholics while others don't who drink just as much? Why am I so depressed? How can I learn to be satisfied with just the amount of food, sex and excitement that is good for me? This amazing book explains a neurobiological mechanism common to all these questions and more. It also provides helpful tools for the management of excessive cravings. This is done with such clarity and simplicity, and is potentially so valuable to humanity, that I believe it should be taught in school.

Anyone who has had issues with depression, obsessiveness, impulse control or addiction should be sure to get the Second Edition, which adds a lot of material on non-drug management of such problems.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jaime R. Carlo Casellas on March 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In addition to reviewing the neurochemical, environmental and genetic mechanisms of addiction, Dr. Ruden phenomenally explains the role that chronic, inescapable stress contributes to addictive behavior. I cannot recommend the book highly enough to healthcare professionals and the addicted interested in exploring the basis of the addictive process.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Davis on February 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, BobReadsalot just didn't get it. As Dr. Ruden says, this is not a self-help book. Ruden offers a fascinating theory of the physiological links that lead to craving and addiction. He provides the science very effectively in language any good reader can understand. Since all the needed research to support his theory has not been done, he offers an approach to intervening in the craving process that has been shown to work with alcoholics -- neurofeedback. In the future, when the research is done, Dr. Ruden's very-sound theory very likely will be one of the important stepping stones. One important contribution of this book for those seeking self-help is its insight that physiologic causes, rather than human weakness, trigger addiction. For those of us addicts who are tired of being blamed for our addiction, this book offers hope for a better future and takes the blame off our backs. Readers of Dr. Ruden's book should contact the National Institute of Drug Abuse and suggest that its reasearchers test Ruden's theory.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fred P. Gallo on July 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great little book for both the lay public and professionals. I highly recommend it. It provides a good, solid scientific understanding of addiction in simple language and offers the reader useful guidelines about moving beyond sobriety and toward cure. --Fred P. Gallo, Ph.D., Author of Energy Psychology: Explorations at the Interface of Energy, Cognition, Behavior, and Health, Second Edition (Innovations in Psychology) and Energy Tapping for Trauma: Rapid Relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Using Energy Psychology
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D. on March 19, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors take the position that addiction is not a matter of willpower or morality, but it is due to a neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain: mainly low levels of serotonin. This book presents a good way to understand the chemical components of addiction and the authors do a good job of explaining the links between stress, dopamine, and serotonin. I also like that the authors make the case that recovery does not end with sobriety. Continued support and treatment are needed to cope with the emotional roller-coaster that is often sobriety, and to help recovering addicts improve their coping skills. The authors recommend meditation, medication, group support, psychotherapy, yoga, and neurofeedback. I agree with Ruden and Byalick when they argue for the decriminalization of drug possession and state that the money spent on incarceration of addicts could be better spend on community treatment facilities.

As a psychotherapist, I liked this book, even though I found three short-comings with it. First, the book seems to excuse addiction too lightly without examining and fully discussing the importance of personal responsibility in recovery. Second, personal responsibility and initiative can override the cravings of addiction when people learn to develop the executive function in the brain's prefrontal cortex. In their discussion of the brain, the authors leave out any discussion of the prefrontal cortex or how people might improve their executive function. Third, while genetics play a role, low serotonin levels are often the result of unhealthy habits. With good nutrition, moderate exercise, enriching social activities, and adequate sleep, it is possible to balance serotonin naturally - and these measures should also be included in recovery planning. The book would have been improved, I think, by addressing these points.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LAUNA STOUT- Children'sBooks.BellaOnline on May 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a textbook for an online class about working with people in rehabilitation. It clearly helps to set up the understanding of unstoppable cravings. Not just addictions to drugs, but also other addictions that are more socially acceptable. It explains addictive behavior and how the biology works with a person in this situation. A significant amount of time is spend on the "craving response" and how one battles for control. It would recommend this book for reading if family members or self sees themselves in this situation. There is also a chapter on how to keep stress from sabotaging your brain's chemistry. It states that it is a bold new approach to breaking free from drug addiction, overeating, alcoholism and gambling so if you need help and guidance this is worth reading.
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